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Access To Information Takes Centre Stage At WPFD Celebration

Access to information would be the central focus of the 2016 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) on May 3, 2016.

May 3 is a United Nations declared day that stemmed from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO’s) 1991 Windhoek Declaration on an Independent and Pluralistic African Press.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the declaration, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has unveiled a portfolio of over 40 quality articles and video content on free media, free expression and access to information in sub-Saharan Africa.

The articles, written by journalists and media experts from West, East and Southern Africa, are meant to provide African media with a range of stimulating content from which to choose.

Ms. Zoe Titus, the Regional Director of MISA, said on Tuesday at the organisation’s regional headquarters in Windhoek, Namibia, that “MISA decided in consultation with a range of other African media freedom NGOs and experts to publish a special newspaper with broad popular appeal to general readers on WPFD this year, under the title of the African Free Press.

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“We will distribute the newspaper on May 3 at various WPFD events across Africa in partnership with other media freedom organisations, but are also making the articles and audio-visual content accessible online on MISA’s website.

“In this way we hope to extend their reach as a public information service to citizens in Africa and to provide African media with a range of stimulating content from which to choose. However, any media, NGOs and other organisations in the world are also free to make use of any of this content and are not restricted to publishing these only on WPFD 2016.”

Jeanette Minnie and Hendrik Bussiek, co-editors of the African Free Press, and both experts on media freedom challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, commissioned articles on a wide range of topics pertinent to the African media environment.

Online editor, Kyle James, commissioned a series of video messages asking an important question: what do young people want from their media? Kyle also adapted the written articles for online publication.

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The articles and other Declaration-related information would be featured on various social media channels in the run-up to WPFD.